The Federal Government has condemned the execution of a Nigerian, Kudirat Afolabi, by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for drug-related offences.
Afolabi, a widow and mother of two, was beheaded on Monday by the Saudi authorities.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman, during a meeting on Thursday with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Adnan Bostaji, kicked against the alleged inhumane treatment meted out to the deceased.
At the meeting, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, Suleiman said while Nigeria respected the sovereignty of other countries and abhorred the violation of their domestic laws, the Federal Government would not condone the treatment of any Nigerian in an inhumane manner.
In a statement on Thursday, Suleiman said the Nigerian government also frowned on the failure of the Saudi authorities to inform the Nigerian Mission in Saudi Arabia about Afolabi’s arrest and prosecution, “only to invite the mission to take the last will of the deceased prior to her execution on April 1, 2019.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, therefore, wishes to assure Nigerians that it has engaged the Saudi authorities through their Ambassador in Nigeria, to ensure that the normal diplomatic practice of informing missions of the arrests of our nationals is adhered to, and that fair hearing is given to other Nigerians undergoing judicial processes in Saudi Arabia,” Suleiman said in the statement.
But defending Afolabi’s execution, the Saudi envoy said it was “deservedly meted out to the Nigerian woman because she was found guilty of violating the Sharia law.”
Drug trafficking, he added, was not permitted in the Saudi Kingdom, noting, however, that Nigeria and Saudi Arabia enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations.
Speaking to newsmen after the closed-door meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Bostaji noted that the law against drug trafficking applied to everyone in the Kingdom, irrespective of their nationality, stressing that even Saudi citizens were not exempted.
The ambassador said, “Saudi Arabia is following Sharia law and anyone who violates the law by bringing drugs into Saudi Arabia will be punished by the law.
“This is because we want to save our society from drugs. So, if we don’t impose our Sharia law on these guilty people we may not save our society. The law is for all people in Saudi Arabia and not only for Saudi citizens.”
Bostaji insisted that no one could claim ignorance of the law as all visitors to the Kingdom were made to sign an undertaking not to bring drugs to the country before obtaining a Saudi visa.
He expressed dismay over the failure of visitors to obey the law, saying despite the strict penalties, people still took hard drugs to his country.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Isah Dodo, lamented the “notoriety of Nigerians and nationals of other countries in bringing drugs to Saudi,” stressing that the menace had been going on for long.
He pointed out that the law against drugs was clear, adding that anyone who violated it would be executed “and nobody can stop the Saudi Government.”
“So, all we can tell our people is to stop taking drugs to Saudi Arabia or to other countries where the punishment is execution. Nigerians have seen many people executed in Saudi Arabia and this is sufficient to serve as a deterrent to them but they have remained adamant and continued to commit this crime,” Dodo said.